Mobile providers may be required to block illegal text messages
WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel today shared with her colleagues a proposed rulemaking that would require mobile wireless providers to block illegal text messaging, building on the agency’s ongoing work to stop illegal and unwanted robocalls. As the FCC continues to combat unwanted robocalls, it recognizes that it must adapt to the latest scamming trends—including the rise of robotexts.
In 2020 alone, the Commission received approximately 14,000 consumer complaints about unwanted text messages, representing an almost 146% increase from the number of complaints the year before. Thus far in 2021, the Commission has received over 9,800 consumer complaints about unwanted texts. Meanwhile, data from other sources reaffirm evidence of the problem. For example, RoboKiller reports 7.4 billion spam texts were sent in March 2021.
“In a world where so many of us rely heavily on texting to stay connected with our friends and family, ensuring the integrity of this communication is vitally important,” said Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “We’ve seen a rise in scammers trying to take advantage of our trust of text messages by sending bogus robotexts that try to trick consumers to share sensitive information or click on malicious links. It’s time we take steps to confront this latest wave of fraud and identify how mobile carriers can block these automated messages before they have the opportunity to cause any harm.”
If adopted by a vote of the full Commission, the rulemaking would explore steps to protect consumers from illegal robotexts, including network level blocking and applying caller authentication standards to text messaging.